MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY COLLECTION
PENELOPE SEIDLER’S GIFT TO MAITLAND
BY PENELOPE SEIDLER AM
PENELOPE SEIDLER’S GIFT TO MAITLAND
My family has always felt a strong connection to Maitland as my father Clive Raleigh Evatt was born in East Maitland in 1900. He was the youngest of six boys born to John and Jeanie Evatt. John had come to Australia from Ireland on his own, when he was a teenager. He had lived for a while in Morpeth as a ship’s provedore and it was there that he met Jeanie Grey, whose family was settled there for some years. They were married in 1882 by Archdeacon Child in the beautiful St James Church, Morpeth. A few years later they moved to East Maitland where John became the publican of the Bank Hotel; he played cricket with the local team and all his boys were keen sportsmen. Jeanie was a book-lover and a musician and she played the organ in St Peters Church. Her boys were baptised there and sang in the choir, which Jeanie led. The eldest boy, George, went to Maitland High School when Robert Hinder was the Headmaster. Sadly, my grandfather John Evatt died in 1901 when my father was not yet two. Jeanie was left to raise her boys by herself. She ran the hotel for a while with the help of her brother. Later she moved with the family to Milson’s Point, North Sydney and they lived in a house which was later demolished when the Harbour Bridge was built. Two of the Evatt boys, Ray and Frank, were tragically killed in WWI. Jeanie died in 1922 and she was buried in the East Maitland Cemetery next to her husband. Their headstone carries memorials to Ray and Frank, whose remains are in Belgium and France. My father Clive went on to Duntroon where he won the King’s Medal in 1921 and he later became a prominent King’s Counsel, (later Queen’s Counsel) and State Member of Parliament. He was a Cabinet Minister from 1941 until 1954 [he remained an MP until 1959.] His elder brother Dr Herbert Vere Evatt went on to have a distinguished career as a High Court Judge and Minister for External (foreign) affairs during WW2 and had a formative role in drafting the Charter of the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference of 1945. As President of the United Nations General Assembly he
presided over the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948. I was brought up in a house where art was important and my parents prided themselves on being open to the modern world of art and music. They had a modest art collection and I remember distinctly their support for William Dobell when the controversy was raging about his Archibald winning portrait of Joshua Smith in 1943 when litigation followed to determine what is a ‘portrait’; fortunately there was no dispute when the wonderful Fiona Lowry’s portrait of myself was awarded the same prize in 2014! When I was at high school in the early fifties, at which time art was a dropout subject, it did not count for matriculation. It was not until 1967 when the Power Institute was established that the students at Sydney University could study art! I was fortunate to have Lloyd Rees as my art teacher when I studied architecture there in the early IV 1960s and I am pleased that a wonderful drawing by Rees is included in my gift to Maitland. I married Harry Seidler in 1958, this opened up a whole new world of art. Harry had studied with three Bauhaus masters in the US, at Harvard under Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius and at the famed Black Mountain College with Josef Albers. He also worked in New York with Marcel Breuer and worked with Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil before coming to Sydney in 1948 to join his parents and build the Rose Seidler House. Through Harry I became aware of a wider art world and we collected major works for our house at Killara which was completed in 1967. We collected art together and since Harry’s death in 2006 I have continued to collect artworks across many mediums including, video, photography and many Indigenous works. As I am now in my eighties, it is time for me to let others share some of my collection. I know that Maitland will provide a good home and will provide a link back to my father, who I know would have been pleased.
BY CHERYL FARRELL
PENELOPE SEIDLER’S GIFT TO MAITLAND
When Fiona Hall filled a room in Venice with the faces and sounds of thirty-nine clocks, she gave Time an unavoidable presence. Within that space the passing of time was checked by the continuous ticking and random chimes of assorted longcase, mantle and cuckoo clocks signalling, to all who entered, the artist’s personal lament of the times in which we live.1 Hall’s cuckoo clock, Wrong Way Time, 2015, was one of the clocks featured in that room in the Australian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. This clock now belongs to Maitland and announces a new Maitland Regional Art Gallery exhibition, Unfolding Time Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland. All of the artworks in this exhibition were donated to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) by Penelope Seidler AM, from her own private collection. The artists included in her donations are some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, as well as venerated international artists, many of whom have exhibited in major exhibitions around the world, including the Venice Biennale. In this exhibition, Unfolding Time - Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland, the visitor joins Time as a spectator, to unfold the layers within and examine our world, our histories and stories, past, present and imagined, through the eyes of the artists who have created these works. Some artworks also tick back and forward across art history, with the artists directly referencing themes, ideas and motifs from diverse art forms including visual art, film, text and poetry. Arlo Mountford is one such artist who appropriates images created by others in his work, demonstrating how art is becoming the ‘culmination of its pasts’.2 His playful animations illustrate how new meanings can evolve from historical artworks when considered in a contemporary context, and also prompt us to question the authority of the artistic canon. In The Lament, 2010-2011, Mountford bridges time and revives the imagery of Jean-Antoine Watteau in his 1717 paintings, The Embarkation for Cythera and Pilgrimage to Cythera. His animations
I: SIMRYN GILL, FOREST (OUT TAKE) 3 1996-1998, Siver gelatin print 3/3, 121.5 × 96cm
II: AES+F, THE FEAST OF TRIMALCHIO [PHOTOGRAPH #CF007890] 2008,5/16 photograph printed with epson ultra chrome K3 inks 53.3 × 40cm
III: FIONA HALL WRONG WAY TIME (CUCKOO CLOCK WITH NEWS OF THE WORLD) 11 2015, Painted cuckoo clock 30 × 24 × 15cm
IV: LLOYD REES THE CLIFF Circa 1918, Pen and ink with ochre wash on paper 22 × 40.9cm © Alan and Janis Rees / Copyright Agency, 2019
V: IMANTS TILLERS ATELIER XVI 2002, Synthetic polymer paint gouache on 18 canvas boards 152.4 × 106.7cm
VI: MICHAEL RILEY UNTITLED, 1998 FROM THE SERIES FLYBLOWN 1998 Chromogenic pigment print 5/20, 82 × 108cm © Michael Riley Foundation / Copyright Agency, 2019
VII: ARLO MOUNTFORD THE LAMENT 2010-2011, Dual channel digital animation, colour, sound 2/5 duration: 00:10:00 mins
VIII: DANIEL VON STURMER LIMITS OF THE MODEL (SEQUENCE 1) 2006, Single channel digital video, colour, silent and LCD Screen duration: 00:05:21 min 2/5 LCD screen: 94 × 57 × 11.5cm
IX: MICHAEL COOK CIVILISED #11 (FROM THE CIVILISED SERIES 2012) 2012, Inkjet print on archival Hahnemuhle cotton paper 2/8, 99 × 86.5cm
X: FREDDIE TIMMS JIRIWAL COUNTRY ON BEDFORD DOWNS 1999, Natural pigments and binder on canvas 122 × 135cm © Freddie Timms / Copyright Agency, 2019
XI: SHAUN GLADWELL TRACK AND TRIALS 2011, dual-channel High Definition digital video, 16:9, colour, sound Track: 11 minutes 48 seconds Trials: 12 minutes 33 seconds
XII: WILLIAM KENTRIDGE BREATHE 2008, Litho printing on encyclopedia pages and animation (DVD), 46/50 26.3 × 20.5 × 2.9cm (book closed) animation duration 34 sec All artworks donated under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Penelope Seidler AM.
In this series of photographic tableaux, a slick imaginary world has been created in which excess decadence is contrasted with the ‘brevity of human existence’3. In Last Riot 2 Tondo #12, 2007, the artists present a fictional world, which questions the familiarity of virtual conflicts commonplace on our 21st century screens. In this world AES+F place ‘the past [as] neighbour to the future’4 as the angelicfaced youths stage a violent, bloodless battle in a pink hued, fantasy landscape. The natural landscape is the muse for the paintings of Freddie Timms. Using natural earth pigments, Timms creates topographical views of his homeland, drawing upon his memory to depict the country of his birth, as in the painting Jiriwal Country on Bedford Downs, 1999. In much of his work Timms also embeds a political message beneath the surface of the simple forms, expressing his perception of the impact of colonisation on the lives and lands of the Gija people.5 More overtly political are the two VII photographs by Michael Cook, Civilised #11, 2012 and Majority Rule (Parliament), 2014. The story of ‘Satyricon’ by the Within these constructed scenarios, that 1st century Roman poet, Gaius Petronius are both historical and contemporary, Arbiter, is the inspiration for The Feast of Trimalchio, 2008 by Russian artists AES+F. Cook presents an alternate history, proposing how different life could have been for Aboriginal people and Australian society. Michael Riley provides another perspective on the Aboriginal experience of colonisation in his untitled photographs from the series flyblown, 1998 and cloud, 2000. In these works he distils his message behind simple, yet powerful images, focussing on a single element, such as a dead galah against cracked earth or the open wing of a crow against a dense blue sky, to relate beauty and decay as symbolic of the impact of European culture on the Indigenous population. Simryn Gill’s close-up, black and white photograph Forest (Out take) 3, 1996-1998 is a record of her own intervention into the natural landscape. styles of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and American abstract artist Brice Marden. Like von Sturmer’s video, ‘chance’ has a presence in this painting with the overlaid text taken from the 1897 poem; Thrown dice never will annul chance, by the French symbolist poet Stephane Mallarme, whose words Tillers has reproduced in many of his paintings.
give life to the paintings, elaborating on a static moment in time, albeit still trapping the characters in a cinematic loop. Daniel von Sturmer gives life to inanimate objects in his works, and his use of everyday objects references the readymades by Dada artists such as Marcel Duchamp. In the video piece Limits of the Model (Sequence 1), 2006, von Sturmer focusses on the forms created by a piece of string dropped from beyond our view. Subject to chance and gravity the white string creates an ever changing, tangled, drawing in space. Duchamp himself used string in a number of his works including 3 standard stoppages, 1913-1914 and Mile of String, 1942. The tangle of lines in Imants Tillers’ Atelier XVI, 2002 is a direct appropriation of motifs of others. In this multi-part painting, comprised of 18 canvas boards, Tillers recounts the
VI 1 Fiona Hall, interview, “Fiona Hall: Wrong Way Time (Australian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale)”, available online 24/6/19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6prtsFJpqH 2 Arlo Mountford, N.D., available online 18/7/19: https://www.mca.com.au/artists-works/works/2009.160.1-2/
IX 3 AES+F artist statement from The Feast of Trimalchio Portfolio 4 AES+F, edited by Craig Beaty. Available online 18/7/19:https://aesf.art/projects/last_riot/# 5 NGA. Available online 1/8/19: https://cs.nga.gov.au/detail.cfm?IRN=2165
The text covered leaves invites the viewer in, to spend time with the work and ‘read’ it like the leaves of a book.6 While William Kentridge also uses the printed word in Breathe, 2008,time is used in this work as a key ‘material’.In the style of a simple flip book, Kentridge uses stop motion animation to create the illusion of movement. Within this work a tangled line drawing of disconnected shapes dance across the pages of a 1953 Russian ‘Village Household Encyclopedia’. A pirouetting female figure finally emerges evoking connotations of play and a childlike jovialness while also referencing the history of film and origins of animation. Much like the dancing figure in Kentridge’s film, Shaun Gladwell’s dual-channel video work Track and Trials, 2011, documents
the playful movement and interactions of bike riders balancing within an urban environment. The complementary video shows a contrasting, natural environment featuring a serious and focussed solo rider, jumping through a wet and rocky shoreline. The viewer is required to spend time with the film, becoming mesmerised by the skill of the riders and the meditative environments they inhabit. The work emphasises the human body as it is subjected to motion and gravity X as well as contrasting two starkly different landscapes, exploring the natural versus the man-made. The works of art featured in this catalogue are a small selection of the outstanding artworks donated to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery by Penelope Seidler and we invite you to spend time with the exhibition and the many histories and artworks within. We are extremely grateful to Penelope for these generous gifts and treasure her relationship with MRAG and the City of Maitland, a connection that threads back through time to the early 1880s when her grandparents settled in East Maitland to raise their family.
EXHIBITION DATES: 24 AUGUST 2019 — 16 FEBRUARY 2020
XI First published in 2019 by Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) PO Box 220, Maitland NSW, 2320 | mrag.org.au to accompany the exhibition: Unfolding Time – Penelope Seidler’s Gift to Maitland Exhibition dates: 24 August 2019 — 16 February 2020 © Maitland Regional Art Gallery All images copyright of the artists
Exhibition Curator: Cheryl Farrell Editing: Cheryl Farrell, Anne McLaughlin Design: Clare Hodgins Catalogue printing: WHO Printing ISBN: 978-0-6481664-9-8 MRAG is a proud service of Maitland City Council and is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.
6 Simryn Gill, ‘Simryn Gill:Inland’, Centre for Contemporary Photography, 2009. Available online 16/7/19: http://archive.ccp.org.au/docs/catalogues/Simryn%20Gill-Inland.pdf
CONTINUE DOWN THE MAIN GALLERY SPACE On your left find 2 etchings, one by HENRI MATISSE and one by PABLO PICASSO (see note in ABOUT THE EXHIBITION). These artworks were made in 1948 in the late careers of both artists: Picasso was 67, Matisse 78 years. IS the age of an artist relevant to what they create? NOTICE the simple hand-made lines and shapes in both faces. What makes something TIMELESS? NOTES:
LOOK AT THE LARGE INSTALLATION OF PHOTOGRAPHS ON THE ADJACENT WALL BY AES+F in 2008, a collective of 4
LOOK TO THE WALL ON THE FAR SIDE FOR HELICOPTER JOE TJUNGURRAYI’S SCREEN PRINT JUPITER WELL 2003. Is TIME a presence in this artwork? Do ideas of SPACE and TIME co-exist here? Does your gaze change when your eyes move across this artwork?
ALONG THE SAME WALL FIND MELINDA HARPER’S UNTITLED 2010 SILK, THREAD & PAINT ON EMBROIDERY MESH… Are we influenced as viewers by how much TIME an artwork takes to make? What does the length of TIME it took to make an artwork indicate?
INTERACTIVE GUIDE Feel free to use this as you look around the exhibition
How does the artist create forms in this work? MELINDA HARPER ( B. 1965) is a Melbourne based abstract artist who focusses on colour and light and makes artworks using a diverse range of two dimensional forms.
PENELOPE S E I D L E R ’S GIFT TO MAITLAND
HELICOPTER JOE TJUNGURRAYI (B. 1947) of the Kukatja language group, paints the land of his birth, his father’s country, in the Great Sandy and Gibson Desert areas of northern West Australia.
Russian artists who create videos and other photo-media artworks. Is TIME STRETCHED in these images?
LOOK THROUGH INTO THE ADJOINING GALLERY SPACE FOR THE VIDEO INSTALLATIONS TRACK AND TRIALS 2011 SHAUN GLADWELL AND LIMITS OF THE MODEL (SEQUENCE 1) 2006 BY DANIEL VON STURMER.
What will keep you looking at a MOVING artwork? Is there a difference between art and entertainment? What are some of the differences for the viewer between looking at a still or a moving artwork?
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GALLERY SPACE IS CALLUM MORTON’S 3D WORK SCREEN SHOT IV 2008. Is TIME CAUGHT here in what looks like a scaled down Drive-In Cinema screen? LOOK at the image on the screen shape, faded, disappeared, weathered, timed out, taken over? THINK on the human appetite for images, especially moving images. IS this abandoned screen a monument to a past culture and technology? CALLUM MORTON (B. 1965) is a Canadian-born practising artist based in Melbourne. He is inspired by architecture and the built environment.
LOCATE JOHN NICHOLSON’S ARTWORK RANDOM NOISE #1 2004 NEXT TO JUPITER WELL. LOOK at this artwork, the materials and structure NOTICE the screen-like form, its transparency and the colours emerging from inside Is there a sense of expectation, waiting, or TIME FROZEN contained in this work – what do you think? JOHN NICHOLSON (B. 1970) is a Sydney –based artist. He uses plastic to play with colour and light and the screen as a portal to other dimensions.
SHAUN GLADWELL (B.1972) is a contemporary artist who works between Sydney and London. He works predominantly in video performance with a focus of the body in motion. DANIEL VON STURMER (B. 1972) Originally from New Zealand von Sturmer is based in Melbourne and uses video, installation and photography to investigate relationships between people and things, space and time and related concerns.
WE HOPE THAT YOU HAVE ENJOYED LOOKING AT UNFOLDING TIME PENELOPE SEIDLER’S GIFT TO MAITLAND. For more discussion of other artworks in this exhibition see the gallery catalogue essays by Cheryl Farrell and Penelope Seidler. We are interested in your response to these artworks so we invite you to leave this sheet with your comments at the Gallery Front Desk if you wish AND there is plenty of time to visit Unfolding Time again as the exhibition continues until Sunday 16 February, 2020.
MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY COLLECTION 24 16
AUGUST 2019 — FEBRUARY 2020
MARKING TIME AS YOU ENTER THE EXHIBITION ON YOUR RIGHT IS FIONA HALL’S WRONG WAY TIME (CUCKOO CLOCK WITH NEWS OF THE WORLD) 11 2015 A PAINTED CUCKOO CLOCK. Clocks MARK TIME and TIME MARCHES ON…
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
THE ARTWORKS IN THIS EXHIBITION WERE ALL PURCHASED BY PENELOPE SEIDLER FOR HER OWN ART COLLECTION; SHE HAS NOW DONATED THEM TO THE MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY COLLECTION. • Penelope Seidler is an Australian architect based in Sydney; her father, Clive Evatt, was born in Maitland. He was a Federal Member of the Australian Parliament in the 1940s and 1950s and a leading barrister at the Sydney Bar. • Penelope said “I was brought up in a house where art was important and my parents prided themselves on being open to the modern world of art and music.” • Most of these artworks are contemporary – meaning that have been made in current times, now or very recently, and most of the artists are Australian. • There are 2 exceptions to this: Penelope’s gift includes 2 artworks by 2 Modern Masters - an etching by HENRI MATISSE (18691954) Nadia Au Menton Pointu 1948 and an etching by PABLO PICASSO (1818-1973) Femme au Fichu 1947-48. • “As I am now in my eighties it is time for me to let others share some of my collection. I know that Maitland will provide a good home and provide a link back to my father, who I know would have been pleased.” Penelope Seidler, Unfolding Time catalogue essay
LOOK at the expression on the man’s face, the words above him and the colours chosen. WHAT might the artist be intending by painting directly onto this decorative traditional cuckoo clock? The cuckoo marks time; does that distract us from looking at how we spend our time? FIONA HALL (B. 1953) makes artworks from a variety of found objects that she re-contextualises into new forms. This work was part of her major installation representing Australia at the 2015 Venice Biennale entitled Wrong Way Time.
TURN INTO THE MAIN GALLERY SPACE AND FIND ARLO MOUNTFORD’S THE LAMENT 2010-2011 ON THE LONG WALL. This is a TIME-BASED animation with sound using two paintings by French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau, THE EMBARKATION FOR CYTHERA and PILGRIMAGE TO CYTHERA both painted in 1717.
MOVING ACROSS TO THE RIGHT SECTION OF THE SAME WALL FIND CIVILISED #11 2012 BY MICHAEL COOK.
LOOK at the way the figures move across the 2 paintings, and their actions.
Can you tell when this artwork was made?
NOTICE the handmade quality of the moving figures. HOW do we try and understand artworks from the past when we look at them today? ARLO MOUNTFORD (B. 1978) is a British born artist based in Melbourne with an art practice centred on making large interactive installations with sound.
What, from the PAST or PRESENT, are you aware of when looking at this work? There is a another work by this artist installed above the Front Desk of the Gallery - Majority Rule (Parliament) – don’t miss it, it defies TIME… MICHAEL COOK (B. 1968) is a Brisbane-based photo-media artist of Bidjara heritage who had a previous career as a commercial photographer.
WHEN EXPLORING THIS EXHIBITION YOU MIGHT BECOME AWARE OF PERSPECTIVES ON TIME THAT COULD INCLUDE: • TIME SPENT collecting artworks, making artworks, watching artworks • TIME PAST artworks reflecting past times, cultures and ways of being • TIME MANIPULATED using forms, technologies and images from any source and time • TIME PRESENT contemporary, in the now, a point in time, that immediately becomes the past • TIMELESSNESS a still continuing presence that also includes a recognition of change
TURN TO YOUR RIGHT: CAN YOU SEE DESTINY DEACON’S MY BOOMERANG 2003 DID COME BACK ON THE END WALL ON THE FAR LEFT? NOTICE the deliberate choice of OLD technology (Polaroid camera) to make this artwork. LOOK at the arrangement and choice of objects that the artist has set up. THINK about the title and how it works when you look at the image. What PAST or PRESENT assumptions or beliefs might the artist be questioning? DESTINY DEACON (B.1957) is an artist and descendent of Kuku and Erub/Mer peoples. She uses performative photomedia and installations to pose questions about Aboriginal and nonAboriginal life in Australia.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN THOUGHTS ON TIME HERE ON THIS SHEET.
IN CONTRAST: NEXT TO CIVILISED 11 2012 FIND THE CLIFF C. 1918 DRAWN BY LLOYD REES. LOOK at how the PAST is represented here, in style and subject. NOTICE how Rees uses scale in relation to human and natural form. LLOYD REES (1895-1988) was a highly respected Australian artist who focussed on landscape; this drawing was one of many he made in and around Sydney as a young 25 year old recently arrived from Brisbane in 1917.
AS YOU LEAVE, SEE FREDDIE TIMMS’ JIRIWAL COUNTRY ON BEDFORD DOWNS 1999. Are you aware of SPACE and TIME in this painting; is this an artwork that you can lose yourself in? NOTES:
PTO PAGE 5